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Submission + - What a Trip: First Evidence for Higher State of Consciousness Found (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: Researchers observe a sustained increase in neural signal diversity in people under the influence of psychedelics.

Scientific evidence of a ‘higher’ state of consciousness has been found in a study led by the University of Sussex.

Neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity – a measure of the complexity of brain activity – of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal waking state.

The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. For example, people who are awake have been shown to have more diverse neural activity using this scale than those who are asleep.

This, however, is the first study to show brain-signal diversity that is higher than baseline, that is higher than in someone who is simply ‘awake and aware’. Previous studies have tended to focus on lowered states of consciousness, such as sleep, anaesthesia, or the so-called ‘vegetative’ state.

Submission + - When science brought Americans and Russians together 1

Lasrick writes: The first Russian explosive device to land on US soil wasn’t delivered by a Russian missile, as Americans feared might happen throughout the Cold War. It was delivered by FedEx. This is a great story of true scientific cooperation from the great metallurgist and nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, who recounts the story of when an explosive magnetic flux compression generator arrived at Los Alamos National Laboratory in late 1993, shipped from the Russian Federal Nuclear Center VNIIEF. It allowed Los Alamos and VNIIEF scientists to conduct a groundbreaking joint experiment to study high-temperature superconductivity in ultra-high magnetic fields. Great stuff.

Comment Re:Rule Change when it's in his best interest? (Score 1) 450

That's a matter of perception. "activists" vs "actual". Others may see the issue exactly the opposite way as you. Both side can shout "You're WRONG!" at each other until they're blue in the faces.

Really, at the end of the day, Global Warming will be a litmus test on this. If the Republicans are right on this issue, things will continue similarly to the way they've been, with minor variations. If the Democrats are right, we're in a heap of trouble unless we take corrective action. But on this matter, Nature will be the judge, and all the shouting and blue faces won't make a speck of difference.

Comment Re:Who will care? (Score 1) 547

The problem with that is that while OpenVPN works and is relatively straightforward to set up, it's not the best performer in town. I have an OpenVPN endpoint too, and use it in situations that make sense for me.

I don't believe your default route is one of them. Whatever VPN I end up using, I'm probably going to take known sites and send them straight out. I'm not concerned about anyone knowing that I visit Slashdot, Ars Technica, Google, Amazon, Newegg, etc. What I'm concerned about are the other sites - the places I go based on a (https-based, of course) Google search.

Comment Re: Lots of valuable information... (Score 1) 404

I've also been considering getting a VPN service. I run OpenVPN, in order to get to my home network while away. I've found a service, and one of the VPNs they support is OpenVPN. But I've heard that OpenVPN isn't that great in terms of performance. It doesn't matter now, because I don't push that much traffic through it.

But if the VPN is becoming my default route, performance will be much more important. Which has also let me to realize that I'll probably do somewhat messy routing, letting primary sites go directly out, while "other stuff" goes through the VPN. I don't care if advertisers know I visit Slashdot or Ars Technica, nor if I go to Amazon. It's all of those other links, like non-Amazon shopping or medical searches. Who cares if they watch me downloading OSS to compiler for Gentoo?

Submission + - Why You Should Care About The Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges (consumerist.com)

rmdingler writes: A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase “patent exhaustion” is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it?

Here’s the background: Lexmark makes printers. Printers need toner in order to print, and Lexmark also happens to sell toner.

Then there’s Impression Products, a third-party company makes and refills toner cartridges for use in printers, including Lexmark’s.

Submission + - Astronomers Observe Supermassive Blackhole Ejected by Gravitational Waves (nasa.gov)

An anonymous reader writes: From NASA:
"Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.

Though there have been several other suspected, similarly booted black holes elsewhere, none has been confirmed so far. Astronomers think this object, detected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a very strong case. Weighing more than 1 billion suns, the rogue black hole is the most massive black hole ever detected to have been kicked out of its central home.
Researchers estimate that it took the equivalent energy of 100 million supernovas exploding simultaneously to jettison the black hole. The most plausible explanation for this propulsive energy is that the monster object was given a kick by gravitational waves unleashed by the merger of two hefty black holes at the center of the host galaxy."
The findings of the study will be published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics on March 30th.

Submission + - A new definition would add 102 planets to our solar system — including Plu (washingtonpost.com)

The Grim Reefer writes: Is Pluto a planet?

It's not a question scientists ask in polite company.

“It's like religion and politics,” said Kirby Runyon, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University. “People get worked up over it. I've gotten worked up over it.”

For years, astronomers, planetary scientists and other space researchers have fought about what to call the small, icy world at the edge of our solar system. Is it a planet, as scientists believed for nearly seven decades? Or must a planet be something bigger, something more dominant, as was decided by vote at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006?

The issue can bring conversations to a screeching halt, or turn them into shouting matches. “Sometimes,” Runyon said, “it's just easier not to bring it up.”

But Runyon will ignore his own advice this week when he attends the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. In a giant exhibit hall crowded with his colleagues, he's attempting to reignite the debate about Pluto's status with an audacious new definition for planet — one that includes not just Pluto, but several of its neighbors, objects in the asteroid belt, and a number of moons. By his count, 102 new planets could be added to our solar system under the new criteria.

Submission + - US Secretary of Defense: Climate Change National Security Issue (propublica.org)

omaha393 writes: Secretary of Defense James Mattis identified climate change as a national security risks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to unpublished comments sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary Mattis joins several scientific and policy experts as well as the Pentagon Study urging action to address climate change. While Secretary Mattis’ position seems at odds with other members of the White House cabinet, this is hardly the first time Mattis has offered contrary opinions on major policy decisions. Other members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have changed their tones on the subject, now supporting the evidence that man-made climate change is real and may pose a threat to national security. How climate change will be addressed under the new administration remains to be seen, as advisors the White House have indicated the administration intends to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and the recently revealed "budget blueprint" seeks to slash funding to climate change alleviation.

Comment Re:Next year - "Good Omens" (Score 1) 542

I would really like to see Alastair Reynolds' "Pushing Ice" done as a three-parter. It was a good story at the time, but it also struck me as being particularly adaptable to movie form. So often making a movie means hacking the book to pieces. "Pushing Ice" was already broken into three pieces by the author, and each piece seemed to me to have about movie-length scope.

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